The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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Slander of Title

1 Elements and Case Citations

“Slander or disparagement of title occurs when a person, without a privilege to do so, publishes a false statement that disparages title to property and causes the owner thereof ‘“some special pecuniary loss or damage.”’ The elements of the tort are

(1) a publication,
(2) without privilege or justification,
(3) falsity, and
(4) direct pecuniary loss.”

CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS

Supreme Court of California: Gudger v. Manton, 21 Cal. 2d 537, 541 (1943), overruled on other grounds in Albertson v. Raboff, 46 Cal. 2d 375, 381 (1956).

California 1st District: Wilton v. Mountain Wood Homeowners Assn., 18 Cal. App. 4th 565, 568 (1993).

California 2d District: Cyr v. McGovran, 206 Cal. App. 4th 645, 651 (2012).

California 3d District: Cavin Memorial Corp. v. Requa, 5 Cal. App. 3d 345, 361 (1970).

California 4th District: Alpha & Omega Development, LP v. Whillock Contracting, Inc., 200 Cal. App. 4th 656, 664 (2011).

California 5th District: Sumner Hill Homeowners’ Ass’n Inc. v. Rio Mesa Holdings, LLC, 205 Cal. App. 4th 999, 1030 (2012).

California 6th District: M.F. Farming Co. v. Couch Distributing Co., Inc., 207 Cal. App. 4th 180, 198 (2012).

CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS

United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: Harrington Tools, Inc. v. Sunland Chemical & Research Corp., No. 11-56831, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16755, at *3 n.1 (9th Cir. Aug. 13, 2013).

Central District: Rosenburg v. Bank of America, N.A., No. CV 11-10597-CAS(CWx), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40582, at *15 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 21, 2013).

Eastern District: Madlaing v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. CV F 12-2069 LJO SMS, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76974, at *35-36 (E.D. Cal. May 31, 2013).

Northern District: Ward v. Pickett, No. C-13-01735 DMR, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144129, at *45 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 3, 2013).

Southern District: Marques v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc., No. 09-cv-1985-L(RBB), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130582, at *9 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 10, 2011).

2 Issues and Defenses to Claim for Slander of Title

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses. See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations: Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 338(b) (three years for injury to real property).

(3) If the publication is reasonably understood to cast doubt upon the existence or extent of another's interest in land, it is disparaging to the latter's title. . . . The main thrust of the cause of action is protection from injury to the salability of property . . ., which is ordinarily indicated by the loss of a particular sale, impaired marketability or depreciation in value. Sumner Hill Homeowners’ Ass’n Inc. v. Rio Mesa Holdings, LLC, 205 Cal. App. 4th 999, 1030 (2012).

(4) Pecuniary Loss: Pecuniary loss is an essential element and “Pecuniary loss is restricted to ‘(a) the pecuniary loss that results directly and immediately from the effect of the conduct of third persons, including impairment of vendibility or value caused by disparagement, and (b) the expense of measures reasonably necessary to counteract the publication, including litigation to remove the doubt cast upon vendibility or value by disparagement.’” Kirsten v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, No. 2:13-cv-01215 JAM-KJN, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135028, at *16-17 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 20, 2013).

(5) Privileged Communications: “Under California Civil Code § 2924, ‘the statutorily required mailing, publication, and delivery of notices in nonjudicial foreclosure, and the performance of statutory nonjudicial foreclosure procedures, [are] privileged communications under the qualified common-interest privilege.’” Rosenburg v. Bank of America, N.A., No. CV 11-10597-CAS(CWx), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40582, at *15 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 21, 2013). See Affirmative Defenses at Chapter 1 re Qualified Privileges.

(6) Lis Pendens: “California Civil Code § 47(b)(4) sets forth one . . . exception to the absolute privilege governing the recording of lis pendens. Section 47(b)(4) provides that ‘[a] recorded lis pendens is not a privileged publication unless it identifies an action previously filed with a court of competent jurisdiction which affects the title or right of possession of real property, as authorized by law.’ Thus, the privilege codified in § 47(b) applies if the lis pendens (1) identifies an action ‘previously filed’ in a court of competent jurisdiction that (2) affects the title or right to possession of real property.” Marques v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc., No. 09-cv-1985-L(RBB), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130582, at *10 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 10, 2011).

(7) Ownership Interest Required: A claim for slander to title “may be prosecuted only by someone with an interest in the property.” Chao Fu, Inc. v. Chen, 206 Cal. App. 4th 48, 58 (2012).